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Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Feeling a bit stiff today, but it’s for a good reason! I have been sticking to my walking schedule as best I can, pacing myself and ramping up slowly. Not only am I now walking a minimum of 30 minutes each day that I walk, but for the first time I walked three days in a row! This means that, in theory, I can finally meet my 5x a week walking plan (150 minutes a week). I have walked up to 35 minutes a few times, and usually do at least a quarter mile at a low incline to build up my thigh muscles (which helps my knees). I haven’t walked this regularly since hubby and I were doing 5ks a few years ago.

I’ve broken 10,000 steps a day a couple more times, but I am not pushing that hard (maybe eventually). I’m not walking very fast, but every time I step on the treadmill it’s a success. My left hip is doing much better for the regular exercise, and my lower back has improved somewhat. I’ve managed to avoid any blisters and am religious about stretching so I haven’t had any charley horses. I’m so grateful for the treadmill and hubby’s support (he did get in a few “I told you so”s, but they were well-deserved!)  ;}

My FitBit had an update recently and it now tracks my sleep time automatically. Before I had to toggle it on and off manually, but with my medical band that was difficult to do (and since it is controlled by tapping, my hands were often an issue). So far it seems to be tracking accurately and it’s a great feature! I do need to replace my current band which is wearing out (the metal medical band that I wear on top is probably contributing). I’m hoping for an after-holiday sale that I can take advantage of.

In January I will start tracking what I eat again- I’m focusing on maintaining my walking schedule for now and will give myself a free pass on food until after the holidays. This means I’m not losing any weight, but I’m also not stressing out over food. I have lost some inches around my waist and ordered new jeans in a smaller size- here’s hoping they fit okay! I am also keeping a close eye on my sneakers and may replace those in the new year as well- walking on the treadmill wears them smooth after a while.

I am way behind on holiday anything. I did get the door wreath up and the lights on the front bushes, and brought some ornaments to hang on my team’s tree in the office. With the kittens were are probably going to skip the tree at home entirely this year. We’ve gotten a few cards so far and I intend to send some but am still working out holiday gifts (looks like my packages will be going out after Christmas again this year). I’d like to do more, but I’m also trying to pace myself and maintain my sanity. The disadvantage to exercising is it takes a chunk out of my evenings since I then need to shower afterwards, but in the long run I know it is better for me. I am practicing allowing myself to not do things- it’s almost as challenging as walking on the treadmill.

I do think exercising regularly is helping my anxiety some- whether it’s endorphins or just physical stress relief I’m not sure. I’m not listening to music while I walk right now- I think having time to just quietly zone is probably good for me. Exercising is helping my digestive issues also, so it’s just all-around a good thing for me. In time I’d like to start using light weights again, but I think that will wait for January as well- I want to make exercising a solid habit.

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Right now, there isn’t a whole lot of it for the usual, obvious reasons, but I’m trying to change that.

After a couple rough weeks and some regression as far as inflammation is concerned, I am reassessing my exercise goals and slowly restarting. Right now, I am doing one hour a week with my trainer doing Qigong for balance and stretching, and light weights to build strength and control. Incredibly, I have started to work with my first kettlebell! It’s only 15 lbs. and the handle is too small for my paws, but it’s more than I ever expected to be working with, so that’s pretty exciting. My trainer is a good friend who recently completed her certification and is focusing on women’s fitness, so this is a learning experience for both of us. The weight training is good for strengthening the muscles around my joints and pain management, and I definitely have more “good days” the weeks when I work out than when I don’t (although that can be hard to remember when I’m exhausted and trying to get on a treadmill). Right now I can only afford one session a week (cost in both money and energy is high) but I always feel better for doing it- I *know* that I’m doing something good for my body.

The other half of my (sparse) exercise regimen is one day of cardio a week. Right now that’s 20+ minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph or higher. Not much, I know, but I was walking 5ks last year and and I want to build back up to that. I know that I need to do more, but I also don’t want to try and do everything at once and hurt myself or burn out, so I am focusing on these two areas for now.

I also need to get back on track with what I eat. In the past I have done Weight Watchers and SparkPeople with varying levels of success. While both programs are excellent for different reasons, between food allergies, high cholesterol, anemia and lactose intolerance, there’s more that I need to track than is included in most online tools. I tried The Hackers Diet recently (being a geek by nature and trade) but have to confess that I have fallen off updating my spreadsheets. I will get back to this in the near future, but for now I’m focusing on small steps starting with tracking how many servings of water I have every day on a calendar and my daily weight each morning. Keeping hydrated helps with my inflammation and joint pain, and it’s an easy change to get back into. Once it becomes a habit again then I’ll make further changes.

Ideally I’d like to add a second cardio session and an hour of yoga into my week, plus track food again. It’s amazing how easily a few bad days (or a couple holidays) can derail a maintenance schedule. I still have that early morning hour that looks like it would be great for yoga, but I’m still slowly adjusting to staying awake at that time rather than crawling back into bed.  I am sitting on my exercise ball again in the mornings, which is good for my back and provides inadvertant stretching in the morning to help get some of the kinks out. It really makes me realise how much I could be doing and haven’t been- no wonder my weight has gone up.

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M is for Migraine

Hopefully, you won’t see me write much here about migraines. Thanks to careful management I experience migraines much less often than I used to, and the right treatment now minimizes the impact they have on my ability to function. Unfortunately, I haven’t shaken them entirely, and today I’ve been flirting with one most of the day.

Any day that I wake up with a stiff neck I know to start watching for migraine signs. Sometimes a sore neck is enough to trigger a migraine all by itself, but I’ve found ways to minimize the chance. A year or so ago I bought an ergonomic pillow- one of the wavy “memory foam” ones. This has been a huge help in avoiding neck stiffness. I’ve found, though, that the memory foam needs to “rest” for a couple days every once in a while, or else it gets too soft. It may just be that it’s time to get a new one- I haven’t decided yet.

Gentle stretches in the morning can help get past any neck stiffness, but if a headache persists I know that I need to take steps. I’ve had to adjust the progressive treatment for my migraines to work around other medications, and some things don’t work as well as they used to, so there’s still some guessing involved. At one end of the spectrum is food and light caffeine, in the middle is Ibuprofen and a decongestant, and at the far end is Treximet (with other steps in-between). I’m managing my migraines well enough now that I only need to resort to Treximet once every three months or so (which is a good thing since it’s so darn expensive).

Today was a borderline day. Sometimes light exercise will help, other times it can make things worse. I was hoping for the first and ended up with the second. Unfortunately, I am sensitive to artificial scents at the best of times- when I’m skirting a migraine they’re a killer. The gym at our apartment complex went a little overboard with the holiday cinnamon scent today, and my head was pounding almost as soon as I walked in the door. I stayed on the treadmill for my minimum (20 minutes or 1.25 miles, whichever comes first) and then got out. The cool air outside helped immensely and I took something as soon as I got home. I’m really annoyed that I felt well enough to work out but still couldn’t do much due to headache and air freshener.

And, really, this is a terrible time of year if you are sensitive to smells in any way. A combination of allergies, asthma, and migraines make artificial scents pretty much a bad idea for me at any time. I skirt the perfume aisle and candle or bath shops just in case, but sometimes I’m caught by surprise. Twice in recent weeks someone went overboard with the air freshener in the restroom at work. The first time I ended up with a lungful and had a all-out asthma attack, scaring the daylights out of me and a few of my co-workers. I then had to go to a different part of the building to find a usable bathroom- it was a miserable experience, and rather embarrassing.

I’ve never really seen the point of artificially scenting your home. I remember how much I loved the smell of a school friend’s home, which always smelled like Indian spices and curry. Who would want to cover that up? I do like natural cinnamon scent, and baking or making hot mulled cider is my favourite way to fill the house with holiday scents. I’m not sure if I dislike artificial smells because I’m sensitive, or just because they seem unnecessary (maybe both).

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